Starting September 8, 2012, anonymous comments -- whether for or against the RH bill -- will no longer be permitted on this blog.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Corazon Aquino's Proclamation 214: More Relevant than Ever Before

PROCLAMATION 214, 3 February 1988
Whereas, the UN Declaration on Rights of the Child provides that 'the Child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth';
Whereas, Section 12, Article 2 of the Constitution provides that it is the policy of the State to 'protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception';
Whereas, available statistics detail the frightening losses of innocent human lives by abortion; and
Whereas, in pursuance of the above constitutional mandate and in support of the UN universal declaration and in order to instill the same, as well as the value and sacredness of human life, in the minds and hearts of the Filipino people and thereby help reverse the above statistical trend, it becomes imperative to set aside a period of time for them to ponder and focus attention on their moral and constitutional obligations to protect human life or one's inherent right to life;
Now, Therefore, I, Corazon C. Aquino, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby declare the second week of February 1988 and every year thereafter as "Respect and Care for Life Week" under the auspices of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Pro-Life Philippines, and other involved entities or organizations."
Posted in honor of Corazon C. Aquino (1933-2009), President of the Republic of the Philippines from 1986 to 1992, icon of Philippine Democracy, a true Catholic ruler. May the angels lead you to paradise!

On the Separation of Church and State


The supporters of the RH Bill in the media and in Congress often cite “Separation of Church and State” in order to muzzle the opposition of the Catholic Church. But do they really believe in their own propaganda? Apparently, they are using this principle only for their own ends. This only shows that the supporters of the RH Bill are cynical and manipulative.

While defending the RH Bill, Rep. Janette Garin said that the opinion and support of the Iglesia ni Cristo is important for the Bill. This admission was recorded in many newspapers and can easily be found in the Internet.

One of the Philippine media’s most rabid supporters of the RH Bill and one of its harshest critics of the Catholic Church, Anne Marie Pamintuan of the Philippine Star, said in her column for September 22, 2008, Monday, that:

“Maybe women should join the Iglesia Ni Cristo, which is supporting the bill. And will someone ever file a case questioning violations of the constitutionally enshrined principle of separation of church and state?”

In two sentences, this vociferous critic of the Catholic Church calls upon women to join the Iglesia Ni Cristo because it supports the RH Bill. At the same time, she calls on people to drag the Catholic Church to court.

Wait a minute! We thought that these people are against any Church “meddling” in legislative and state matters? Obviously, this meddling is “bad” only when it goes against the preferences of certain politicians and of certain media people. The Iglesia Ni Cristo is praised because it supports the RH Bill while the Roman Catholic Church is condemned and spat upon by these pro-RH people because it opposes the Bill.

It is clear that these people do not really care about the so-called principle of “Separation of Church and State.” What they simply want is to terrorize the Catholic Church and make it comply with their beliefs. To this end, they will support a church that does what they themselves will consider as “meddling” if that church supports them. Thus, they praise the INC, with its legendary animus against Catholicism and its reliable support for artificial contraception.

And, as we shall see, these people who support the RH Bill have a wrong and ignorant understanding of the meaning of the separation of Church and State.
In their fight for the passage of the RH Bill, not a few of this Bill’s supporters have, once more, invoked the “Separation of Church and State” in order to muzzle the Catholic Church’s opposition to the RH bill. According to these people, the Catholic Church is violating the principle of the Separation of Church and State by daring to speak out against the Bill.

As we shall see, the supporters of the RH Bill are, in fact, very ignorant of what the “Separation Clause” really means.

What Separation of Church and State really means is that the State does not have any State or “Established Church”, it does not subsidize the Church or pay the salary of its clergy, and that no Church has any official access to the instruments of State power (e.g. it cannot use the armed forces to fight other churches or to enforce its beliefs and practices on citizens).
Furthermore, in the Philippine legal and constitutional context, the Separation clause has its origins in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which states that:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

(Take note: the phrase “Separation of Church and State” can never be found anywhere in the US Constitution)

As a US Congressional Report noted in 1854, “What is an establishment of religion? It must have a creed, defining what a man must believe; it must have rites and ordinances, which believers must observe; it must have ministers of defined qualifications, to teach doctrines and administer the rites; it must have tests for the submissive and penalties for the non-conformist…” (cited in p. 31 of David Barton’s “The Myth of Separation”; Aledo, Texas, Wallbuilder Press, 1992). In short, in a true situation of Union of Church and State, the State will force its citizens to adhere to a particular Church, with punishments for those who do not want to conform. Where there are no such penalties, there is no question of an “Established Church”

In modern times, the Establishment clause has been broadened in some countries to include the non-use of government property or funds in order to promote the beliefs of a particular Church or religion over that of other churches and / or religions. Nevertheless, the principle that no Church must be established by the state has never been understood to mean that no one has the right to speak out in public in accordance with his or her religious beliefs.

In short, the Separation of Church and State was established in order to prevent the government from forcing a particular church down the throats of its citizens, and from encroaching upon the rights of the Church. It was established in order to protect the Churches, not the State.

All of these conditions continue to apply to the Philippines, which has no “state religion”, which does not subsidize the Catholic Church or pay the salaries of its priests, which does not require classes in Catholic beliefs in public schools, and which has no provision for forcing non-Catholics to follow Catholic beliefs and practices at gunpoint.
Indeed, non-Catholics churches and religions also have a strong voice in the affairs of state and have considerable public influence in the Philippines. Therefore there is true separation of Church and State in the Philippines.

Separation of Church and State does NOT mean that Church officials cannot speak or try to influence state policy. In a democratic republic, any citizen has the right and duty to use his influence and moral suasion in order to persuade the government to take a particular course of action. Since Church officials are citizens, they continue to have the right to speak out in favor of their beliefs, as long as they use purely moral, non-violent and legal means of expressing these beliefs. This is what the CBCP does. Its members are only exercising their rights under the Constitution, and they have certainly not resorted to violent means.

Separation of Church and State does not mean that Catholics are required to leave their religious beliefs in their private life, and that they should act like they have no Catholic beliefs at all in the public square. To force Catholics to think and act like they are not Catholics, outside the confines of their private lives, is plain and simple discrimination.
In the final analysis, to require Catholics to abandon their religious and moral beliefs in matters of public policy is the same as requiring these Catholics to believe that their religious beliefs are not really true. After all, if you believe that something is true, you will stick to it anywhere and everywhere and in all things, and not just in your private life. The supporters of the RH Bill, in attacking the defenders of the pro-life position for upholding their Catholic beliefs, are in effect attacking the congressional defenders of the pro-life position for having the guts to stick to their moral and religious convictions. This is absurd! In any democracy, it should be expected that people will stick to their moral convictions and make decisions according to their conscience!

Furthermore, if we are going to condemn the Catholic Church for violating the separation of Church and State by speaking out against the Bill, then why should the INC not be accused of committing the same violation when these support the Bill? After all, if speaking out on a proposed Bill in Congress is a form of interference in State matters, then it does not matter whether a church speaks out FOR or AGAINST the Bill; what matters is that the said church spoke ABOUT the Bill. If the Catholic Church is to be condemned for violating the separation of Church and State, then the INC should be charged guilty of the same violation.
This paper was circulated in the House of Representatives by pro-life advocates in 2008. Some minor edits have been made for this particular posting.

A Biased and Contradictory Bill


The Reproductive Health Bill has a glaring self-contradiction.

In Section 3, where the “Guiding Principles” of the RH Bill are listed, it is stated that:

a. In the promotion of reproductive health there should be no bias for either modern or natural methods of family planning;

However, the text of the Bill itself clearly prefers and encourages the use of artificial contraceptives, thus violating one of its own “Guiding Principles”

· In Section 5-f-(1), it is said that the proposed Reproductive Health Care Program will be implemented with the following components:

(1) Reproductive and sexual health education including but not limited to counseling on the full range of legal and medically-safe family planning methods including surgical methods;

It bears asking: if the Bill claims to establish equality between artificial and natural family planning, then why does it give special mention to “surgical methods”? Nowhere in the bill will we find NFP being given the same kind of special mention. It is obvious that the Bill has a bias for artificial methods (such as surgical ones).

· There is an entire Section – Section 9 – which requires all national and local government hospitals to make tubal ligation and vasectomy services available, with such services even qualifying for PhilHealth benefits. Why is there no similar proviso making natural family planning services required in all hospitals? Why are there no provisions for benefits for those who want to avail of NFP?

· In Section 10, contraceptives (in short, artificial – not natural – “family planning”) are declared to be “essential medicines”. All national and local hospital and other government health units are required to regularly purchase supplies of contraceptives. In contrast, there is no requirement for the same units to invest in purchasing educational and other materials necessary for the dissemination of information on Natural Family Planning (NFP).

Recently, more proof has come out that the supporters of the RH Bill are biased against Natural Family Planning.

The Iglesia Ni Cristo has, in recent days, upheld artificial contraception while condemning natural family planning. This, in effect, requires any member of the INC who wishes to practice family planning to use contraceptives.

If the supporters of the RH Bill are, as they say, not biased against NFP, then they should denounce the Iglesia Ni Cristo with equal fervor for condemning NFP, as they are now condemning the Roman Catholic Church for not accepting artificial contraception.

In fact, the supporters of the RH Bill are praising the INC to the high heavens for being so “enlightened” as to support artificial contraceptives while saying nothing about the INC’s condemnation of natural family planning. In the same way, the supporters of the RH Bill are crucifying the Catholic Church with their malicious propaganda even as they are giving no attention to its support for NFP.




All of these sections of the bill, and the behavior of this bill’s proponents, prove that this “Reproductive Health Bill” is dangerously full of lies and proposals that contradict its own principles.

A law as shabbily and deviously written as this does not deserve to pass.

This paper was distributed in the House of Representatives by pro-life advocates in 2008

The RH Bill: An Act of Religious Persecution


The word “totalitarian” is used to describe dictatorships (such as the Nazi and the Communist dictatorships) that rule and keep power not only by using brute military force, but also by forcibly indoctrinating its citizens into believing its ideology. Such dictatorships exercise “total” (hence “totalitarian”) control because not only do they control the lives of their citizens, they also control what these citizens think and want.

The Reproductive Health Bill is fully totalitarian in this respect. It requires that the Philippine government indoctrinate children and young couples into adopting a pro-contraceptive and (therefore) anti-Catholic ideology when it comes to Reproductive Health. Does the Philippine government want to become known as acting in the same manner and Hitler and Stalin?

In Section 12 of the RH Bill, we find that the POPCOM is mandated to enforce a common “reproductive health” curriculum in ALL schools (public and private), for Grade 5 to 4th Year High School. This curriculum, among others, will cover “Reproductive health and sexual rights” and “attitudes, beliefs and values on sexual development, sexual behavior and sexual health”.

Since when has it been the government’s task to impose a common curriculum on ALL schools (and, therefore, on all students) and to dictate what our young and impressionable children should THINK and BELIEVE regarding sex?

Not even in the most liberated Western countries do we see anything like this!

What is more frightening is that the curriculum will be imposed on ALL schools, without respect for the religion or philosophy of that school. Therefore, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Buddhist schools will all be FORCED to teach the SAME BELIEFS about sex and “reproductive health”. Furthermore, this curriculum and the beliefs contained in it will be dictated by POPCOM – an institution known for its public and systematic criticism of the Catholic Church, affiliated with ideologues from UP Diliman (who are not known for their friendliness to religions of any and all stripes).

This is not the only such provision in the Bill.

Section 14 requires that any couple that wants to get legally married in this country must first go to their local Family Planning Office and be instructed about, among other things, “family planning” and “responsible parenthood.”
Given that the RH Bill consistently and clearly prefers artificial to natural family planning and defines responsible parenthood as including the promotion of artificial family planning, this means only one thing: that anyone who wants to legally married in this country will be required by the government to be first instructed (indoctrinated) as why artificial family planning is good and desirable and how to use artificial contraception. This is in blatant disregard of the religious beliefs of the Church to which the majority of Filipinos belong.

This Bill, in short, attempts to suppress the right of all religious bodies and of families in the Philippine -- especially the Catholic Church -- to transmit their respective values on sex and reproductive health. Instead, it will force these bodies to yield their rights to a group of secular and anti-religious ideologues from a secular university, who are using the Philippine government as cover for their scheme to impose their beliefs on all of our young children.

This RH BILL is an act of religious persecution and totalitarian indoctrination and must be resisted and fought by all God-fearing Filipinos!

This paper was distributed in the House of Representatives by pro-life advocates in 2008

Food Shortage Facts vis-a-vis Population Control


• One of the most common claims of RH Advocates is that the Philippines is facing a food shortage because of the size of our population. “There are too many Filipinos and there is too little food and rice available” is a common refrain from anti-life advocates

• One of the real reasons for the food shortage in the Philippines is not the population, but the unbelievably massive losses of food supplies in our country. According to DA Secretary Arthur Yap in his speech “The Challenge of Sustained Agriculture Growth in the Philippines”, given at the Manila Overseas Press Club “Farmers’ Night” at the Intercontinental Manila (May 18, 2007), spoke of:

“..the need for a program that will address the post-harvest losses of our grain crops, vegetables, livestock and fisheries products. In grains, we are losing 10-15%, and in vegetables and fisheries, close to 50%..The losses in terms of spoilage and reduction in volumes translate to billions of pesos and impact directly on farm incomes and consumer prices.”

In a nutshell, due to the lack of adequate drying and storage facilities, the Philippines is losing nearly HALF of its vegetable and fisheries harvests and some 10-15% of our grain (including rice and corn) harvests. In reality the Philippines is producing nearly double the food supply that can be found in its markets: it is just that nearly half of it is destroyed by spoilage. THIS, and not alleged “overpopulation” is one of the real reasons for hunger in our country. Indeed, in the succeeding paragraphs, Sec. Yap calls for the installation of more drying and storage facilities throughout the country and for the development of a “National Grains Highway” to prevent this needless waste of our vegetables, corn, rice and fisheries.

• In the same speech, Sec. Arthur Yap mentions that “in the 70’s, our thrust was to produce at least 99 cavans of rice per hectare… today, we are a boisterous and democratic nation pushing beyond 86 million Filipinos, working with shrinking areas for lands and watersheds. And yet, we have the technology and the testimony of farmers from all over the country, which make it possible to harvest an average of 200 cavans of rice per hectare of irrigated rice lands.”

• Instead of investing billions of pesos in pills and condoms, we should invest this money instead in warehouses and rural development in order to prevent more senseless waste of our food resources and in order to produce more rice with better technology. This is a more sensible and long-term way of addressing poverty and hunger. It will also leave a more lasting impact on the lives of congressional constituencies.
This short paper was distributed in the House of Representatives by pro-life advocates in 2008.